December 15 – Suffering Servant

Isaiah 53:1-12:

Who has believed our message

   and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?

He grew up before him like a tender shoot,

   and like a root out of dry ground.

He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,

   nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

He was despised and rejected by mankind,

   a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.

Like one from whom people hide their faces

   he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Surely he took up our pain

   and bore our suffering,

yet we considered him punished by God,

   stricken by him, and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions,

   he was crushed for our iniquities;

the punishment that brought us peace was on him,

   and by his wounds we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray,

   each of us has turned to our own way;

and the Lord has laid on him

   the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and afflicted,

   yet he did not open his mouth;

he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,

   and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,

   so he did not open his mouth.

By oppression and judgment he was taken away.

   Yet who of his generation protested?

For he was cut off from the land of the living;

   for the transgression of my people he was punished.

He was assigned a grave with the wicked,

   and with the rich in his death,

though he had done no violence,

   nor was any deceit in his mouth.

Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,

   and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin,

he will see his offspring and prolong his days,

   and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.

After he has suffered,

   he will see the light of life and be satisfied;

by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,

   and he will bear their iniquities.

Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,

   and he will divide the spoils with the strong,

because he poured out his life unto death,

   and was numbered with the transgressors.

For he bore the sin of many,

   and made intercession for the transgressors.

 

Hearing this prophecy from Isaiah, we can hardly believe that this righteous servant can even exist. He talks about a plain, ordinary person who wouldn’t be noticed because of his charisma or charm. He would be familiar with pain, hardship, and be rejected socially. This unnoticed person would take our sin, suffering and pain. He would be wounded and killed for our benefit. He would be treated unjustly and forced to die a death he didn’t deserve.

This prophecy hits us hard, because this doesn’t promise the life we would hope for or wish for. This prophecy is one of pain and loss, which we would hope to never experience. It hits hard because it is for our benefit. The people of God benefit from the experiences this servant will face. It’s hard to accept because someone else is doing it on our behalf.

The end of the chapter is the hardest to accept. The suffering, righteous servant becomes the intercession for the sinners. He becomes the one to speak on behalf of us to God. He takes on the role of priest. Not just any priest. but an intercessor who takes on his role post death. He becomes a priest, not by lineage but by role. Being that of someone who can go in and out before the Lord to speak on behalf of the people.

This servant takes on the role of the eternal priest that God talked about to Eli. He becomes the priest that God will raise up. How he does it, saddens us, but we take hope regardless holding on to “the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand”.

 

Prayer:

Dear God,

The pain that the intercessor goes through is great. We can hardly imagine. Thank you for sending someone to take our sin away, and to stand between us because of our terrible deeds. We want your will to prosper. We want the peace promised by you. Thank you for not making us suffer as your righteous servant has to.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen

 

Carol of the day:

Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYKP2p6uEkM

 

Family Activity:

Time Capsule

Today, find things around the house that aren’t essential but contains memories of events and things. Gather them up and put them inside a box. Decorate the box and put it away. Save it until next year.

 

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